31 October 2020 (released)
19 November 2020
By necessity during this pandemic, most artists have had to ditch the traditional studio and make their music in isolation where they can, usually at home. This has also been prime time for covers. Musicians of every stripe have taken this time to perform their favourite tracks written by someone else. Sometimes, it's because a certain track has hit them in a new way and they believe it has a new relevance in this exceptional year. For a lot of them, the downtime may not actually be the boon for creativity that those who don't create music might think it would be. Yes, without tours and life's other social distractions, we are provided more time to write but inspiration comes from intaking live music and as well, the anxiety and turmoil of this year can be a creative black hole.
Normally, the announcement of a covers EP recorded largely in the artist's bedroom would have some dire connotations. One pictures a dishevelled kid with a cheap guitar and a USB mic, banging out 'Wonderwall' and 'Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)' with the whiny passion of a first dump. Nick Campbell Destroys is here to obliterate that notion. The masterfully nimble bass player has lined up a trio of cover adaptations including classic jazz numbers from Coltrane and Art Blakely as well as a track lifted from his favourite show, Rick and Morty. The artist, who has collaborated with the likes of Pomplamoose, Vulfpeck, and Meghan Trainor, took it upon himself to play all the instruments save for the drums on the second track 'Along Came Betty' and vocals and strings on his Rick and Morty track. The resulting EP is a trippy transmutation of classic tracks featuring his spacey and effervescent bassmanship. A fantastic voyage through a jazz fusion nebula.
The whole record (not just the final track) has a Rick and Morty phantasmagoria to it. Garbled radio background voices modulate in oblivion to set us off on this jazz escapade. The adaptation bridges the classic with the modern, cutting in erratic samples and intoxicating keys around Campbell's verbed-out bass space-bass. Thundercat fans will feel right at home in this post-modern cinescape. Raucous driving drums and deep and fuzzy bass propel 'Along Came Betty' like an unchained juggernaut. Off-kilter guitar and tie-dyed keys lift this beyond the stratosphere where a jubilantly manic trumpet carries us the rest of the way to Mars. The third and final piece 'Goodbye Moonmen' from the beloved wacky cartoon series is featured in a new video out now which focuses on a protagonist very similar to Tim and Eric's Eric Wareheim's 'Universe' episode character and subsequent meme. The astronaut blasts off in his canvas rocketship to find far-off wonders in a video that brings to mind the Smashing Pumpkins' 'Tonight, Tonight' (which itself was derived from Le Voyage Dans la Lune (1902)). Singer Michael Mayo croons the interstellar peace anthem while Campbell extrapolates intricate bass lines and stringsmith Danika Penner scores with dreamy bow strokes.
Lo-Fi Bass Music for Quarantine is making the best of an unfortunate situation. In being locked inside, Campbell was not only driven to train himself on unfamiliar instruments to become a self-sustaining artist but also to dream of a wondrous world beyond our planet which from what we can imagine, has been continuing business as usual despite our current earthly plague. This EP is a brilliant escape to the stars. Look forward to an EP from this highly talented bass-slinger.